Three Kings Day

lb January 11, 2018 by Laura Barbieri

At first blush, post-hurricane Puerto Rico seems to have returned to business as usual: the balmy breeze continues to blow, the turquoise waves lap the shores and Coquís still croak the soundtrack to the night. But when you pull back the curtain, it’s clear that Puerto Ricans are still picking up the pieces.

Homes shuttered with plywood and corrugated metal, dog eared highway signs and dark traffic lights all offer fresh evidence of this long road to recovery. More than three months after the hurricane, 30 percent of the island remains without power - including some of our Toys"R"Us colleagues. One team member described feeling a mix of hope and skepticism as she waits for the lights to come back on. But she won’t let the darkness get her down and considers herself lucky to emerge from the storm relatively unscathed.

This spirit of resilience and adaptability seems to be a hallmark of the post-Maria world and can be found in pockets throughout the island. Puerto Rican flags are hand painted on uprooted trees; highway overpasses proclaim messages of solidarity - “yo no me quito” or I won’t give up. All serve as signs that Puerto Rico may be down but it is determined to turn around.

The Toys 4 Puerto Rico Campaign was created to help the island get back on its feet and bring toys to children in need for Three Kings Day. Thanks to the generous outpouring of customer support and our partnership with Lin-Manuel Miranda and the Hispanic Federation, we distributed almost 37,000 toys to children at more than 40 celebrations of Three Kings Day. This campaign required all hands-on-deck and superhero efforts from our team members in Puerto Rico and Supply Chain (you know, just dealing with shipping container delays, inclement weather and bundling thousands upon thousands of toys in a few hours).

But the team embodied the Puerto Rican mantra - yo no me quito - and refused to give up. And the hard work paid off - just look at the smiling faces from the event in La Placita. 

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The excitement was palpable at the La Placita event in Vega Alta – a close-knit community that was rocked by Hurricane Maria. The event was filled with live music, frenetic energy, local celebrity drop-ins, Geoffrey appearances and children smiling ear-to-ear as they picked out their toys.

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Progress can be slow and uneven after a natural disaster, but Puerto Ricans have not let it dampen their spirit. Instead they move forward and celebrate what matters most.

For more information and pictures from the campaign, please visit https://www.toysrus.com/toys4PuertoRico. If you would like to learn more about our recovery efforts in Puerto Rico, including how team members can lend a hand to our colleagues, please visit https://www.toysrusinc.com/corporate-responsibility/giving-back